Anno 1404 Wiki
Base of Operations with guards

The Base of Operations with watchmen unit

Commiting sabotage to your opponents is a new strategy that was implemented through the add-on 'ANNO 1404: Venice'. It's use is mainly based on committing acts of sabotage in the city of your opponents in secrecy, with the purpose to create a drawback for that city. To commit sabotage you first to need to build a Base of Operations, a new building for the game that allows players to get known with the dark methods of sabotaging. Along with sabotage 2 new units are added: the spy and the watchman. While these unit types are not directly controllable, they both have their own duties to fulfill.

Base of Operations[]

Spy Base
This building
will be the 'headquarters' of your spies and you are able to place multiple Bases of Operations in your city, becoming available to you upon reaching 355 citizens. It will provide the city it is built in with an security unit that randomly searches houses located within its influence range for enemy Henchmen.

The unique appearance of this building, with banners and arches, is also its weakness as it looks entirely different from the other buildings and thus easy to spot by your opponents. Therefore, the appearance of this building can be 'mirrored' into any type of house; from citizens to envoys. Keep in mind though that all types of houses - except for the peasant - are already available to mirror, so be careful not to select a type of house that may look suspicious amongst the other houses in your city. An option which may be used before placing a Base of Operations is to camouflage this building before constructing it. To do so, press the "C" button after the building is selected from the construction menu.

Although 'mirroring' a Base of Operations is useful against detection it also has a flaw, as watchmen will be dispatched into the city upon placing this building and they will be an indication to the opponents that a Base of Operations is present in your city. Nevertheless, this will also be your way of recognizing the presence of such a 'mirrored' building in an opponent's city.


The spy - also known as Henchman - is set off in an opponent's city to cause havoc.
In Occidental cities they will first need to depart from a building other than a house to sneak towards the house* destined to infiltrate
, in order to get ready for an act of sabotage. The building from which the spy departs is selected at a certain range from the destined house, so this can be either a tavern, church, etc. In Oriental cities spies will always travel from the nearest bazaar towards the destined house.

It will cost you 800 coins to order a spy to infiltrate a house in an opponent's city and also has a 5 minute cool-down, before either infiltration or act of sabotage can be used again. You also need to pay an additional 60 coins of recurrent maintence per spy hiding in a house (although this additional expenditure isn't shown on the cashflow sheet, it is settled with the balance). When the spy has reached the destined house or marketplace, he needs a short time to infiltrate the house or commit the act of sabotage. When clicking on the house to which your spy is send to infiltrate, the route between him and the destined house becomes visible through a striped line. When the spy successfully infiltrates that house, a pyramid will appear above it. The spy is also able to uncover an opponent's Base of Operations and when found, a mask will appear above that building. However, when the spy is sneaking his way through the streets, the opponent will be notified of the spy's movement and may be able to capture him, leading to a loss of 4 Reputation with you. Also, the opponent can make a special search request for a house, when suspecting that a spy is hiding in it. This is explained in the Watchmen section.

There are, however, situations in which the spy has to (automatically) flee the house it is hiding in. In all cases the 800 coins will not be refunded. This may happen when:

  • the house downgrades from Citizen level to Peasant level;
  • the house is erased (demolished by owner or destroyed by disaster);
  • you order him to leave the house.

Note: a spy can only infiltrate houses, not any other buildings.

* Peasant houses cannot be infiltrated.


Spy Base Patrol Unit
The watchmen are active in the player's own city, from the moment that a Base of Operations is build. The group consisting of 3 watchman units will randomly search all houses within the influence range of their Base of Operations, in order to locate and neutralize enemy spies that could be hiding inside the city. It is wise to build enough Bases of Operations to cover the entire city area to increase the chances of detecting infiltrated spies

If you suspect that a certain house is infiltrated by a spy, you can select that house and use the new available option 'Detect enemy Safe House' that will order a single watchman to search that house. It will cost you 250 coins to do so and the Base of Operations needs a 1 minute cool-down before this option can be used again.

Acts of sabotage[]

There are 5 different acts of sabotage to commit in an opponent's city, as nearly every civilization level will provide you with a different act. Keep in mind that you cannot choose the act of sabotage yourself, as this depends entirely on the civilization level of the house in which the spy is hiding. This also means that upon change of the house in civilization level, the act of sabotage will change accordingly (you are notified whenever this happens). The possible acts of sabotage and their costing price are shown below:


Act of sabotage Price


Unleash arsonist at selected building, resulting in an inferno



Incite revolt on selected marketplace, resulting in an angry mob



Dispatch well-poisoner to selected marketplace, resulting in a plague



Dispatch belly dancer to selected bazaar, resulting in loss of money



Dispatch false prophet to selected bazaar, resulting in tax loss